Braids and Cultural Appropriation: Let’s Talk About It
When Kim Kardashian West showed up to the MTV Movie & TV Awards in 2018 wearing Fulani braids, it caused a stir and a lot of upset feelings. When Katy Perry was seen wearing scalp braids with her edges laid, the people of the internet were aghast.
Before you conclude that it’s a lot of ado about nothing, please keep in mind that the style Kim K was wearing–Fulani Braids, is synonymous with the Fulani People–a nomadic ethnic group who reside in many countries in West Africa, particularly, Nigeria. For the Fulani, the hairstyle is a symbol of class, wealth, religious status. Black women in the U.S. wear the braids as a nudge to their ancestry, and in solidarity with West African cultures. Do you now see why people might be upset that celebrities Kim K and Katy Perry might appropriate hairstyles that feel intimately connected to black culture? Especially when black women are still criticized and excluded for wearing braids and young girls are literally kicked out off school premises because their braids don’t fit the “dress code.”
Watch the documentary below to learn the history of braids and why black women feel some type of way when it’s appropriated.